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Physical Exam for Pleurisy - Topic Overview

When you see your doctor with chest pain from pleurisy, he or she will check:

  • Your temperature. If pleurisy is caused by a viral infection, typical viral symptoms of fever, headache, and muscle aches may be present.
  • Your breathing. You may be taking rapid and shallow breaths to avoid the chest pain of pleurisy.
  • Whether the pain varies depending on your actions. The chest pain of pleurisy is usually worse with coughing, sneezing, or during sudden movements. It may ease when you hold your breath or apply pressure to the painful area.
  • Where the pain is. The chest pain of pleurisy may be on only one side of the chest or may extend to a shoulder or the belly.

Your doctor also will listen to your chest for:

  • Dull thuds heard when the chest is tapped (percussion dullness).
  • Sounds made when the two layers of the pleura camera.gif rub together (pleural friction rub).

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 28, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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